By Bas Rijksen
To ensure you never hear Jesus say: “I never knew you, depart from Me, you evildoers” you only need to do one thing. The will of the Father. What then, is the will of the Father?
To think that doing the will of the Father is either doing good or avoiding evil is relating to God through the Old Covenant Law. The logic goes, if you do what He tells you to do, you’re doing His will. Or, if you are not doing what God told you not to do, you’re also doing His will.
This is simply not true because the New Covenant believer does not relate (or is not suppose to relate) to God based on their obedience or lack thereof but based on Jesus’ perfect obedience, which is imputed unto us as a free gift.
In other words, the “will” that Jesus is speaking about is not the keeping or breaking of any of the Old or New Testament Commandments.
“So if doing God’s will does not point to what I do or don’t do, then what does it mean through a grace lens?” I’m glad you’re asking.
In John 6:28 Jesus was asked this same question, “What must we do to do the works God requires? In other words, the crowd asked, “what does it mean to “work” the works of God or to “do” the will of God.
Note Jesus’ answer: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Even though this expression “the work of God” seems to imply that we have to do some external action or work, actually refers to an action of faith, of placing our trust in Jesus Christ. This is what it means to do the will of the Father.
God actually considers belief in His Son as work. This one act is all our Father requires from you. Jesus repeats Himself in verse 40 in case we’ve missed it: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:40).
Can it be any clearer? To believe in Jesus is to do the will of the Father! Once you believe in Him you do no works any more. From then on everything you do is letting God do His work through you.
To do the will of God does not mean to doing good or avoiding evil, for it has nothing to do with our level of obedience, but it refers having received Christ.
Simply put, if you have accepted Christ, you have fulfilled the will of the Father and you will not be rejected as if He never knew you for “He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13).
May you always remember that to do the will of God means to believe in Jesus!
TO SUM UP
To enter the kingdom of heaven a person needs to do the will of the Father. Contrary to Old Covenant teachings “to do the Father’s will” has nothing to do with some external action or work. Rather, Jesus defines doing the Father’s will as man placing faith in Jesus Christ.
Once you belief in Jesus you’re effortlessly doing the Father’s will for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose (Phil. 2:13). Your job is to believe; that is to rest in the finished work so that God can do His transforming work in and through you.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He (that is not you) who began a good work in you will perform it until the the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6, brackets mine).